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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 12)

Hide your maple syrup

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Rounds 1-11 Results:

  1. Harmon Killebrew
  2. Kirby Puckett
  3. Rod Carew
  4. Tony Oliva
  5. Joe Mauer
  6. Bert Blyleven
  7. Kent Hrbek
  8. Jim Kaat
  9. Johan Santana
  10. Torii Hunter
  11. Justin Morneau

Even amongst the current saturation of MLB long-balls, there’s something special about a home run. In football, basketball, or hockey, a ball/puck outside of play stops action. In baseball, it represents the sport’s greatest individual feat! As we venture beyond the top ten of Twins immorality, it should come as little surprise that Justin Morneau bashed his way into votes.

In pure slugging Twins prowess, Morneau is second only to Harmon Killebrew. From 2006-2010, Justin was a cinch for 30+ homers, 100-120 RBI, and a .270+ BA. This wasn’t just a “MN appreciation” situation either, as Morneau won AL MVP in 2006, finished second in 2008, and won the ’08 HR Derby in NYC (then scored the game-winning run the next night!). The big Canadian was widely renowned as one of MLB’s best lefty mashers.

Sadly, as with most MN athletes, a big “what if” hung over Morneau’s career when a 2010 concussion on the basepaths sapped him of multiple prime seasons. He made a Colorado comeback—even taking home a batting title!—later on but was never quite the same prodigious talent. Recently, Justin has continued endearing himself to Twins Territory as the most oft-used TV color commentator.

The next entry: Though starting pretty flat, this lefty hurler’s tune sharpened quickly and reached its crescendo simultaneously with the Twins franchise.

Round 12:

Twins - Angels baseball — Brad Radke delivers a pitch against Anaheim on his way to avictory Saturday night.

Brad Radke

  • For his first six MN seasons, Radke pitched for cellar-dwelling Twins clubs. That didn’t stop him from being staff ace, even racking up 20 wins in 1997 and finishing 3rd in AL Cy Young voting. From 2001-2006, #22 was reliability personified on much stronger squads. It wasn’t always pretty—the propensity for first-inning runs and gopher balls limited his ceiling—but his pinpoint control and maddening changeup made fools of MLB’s prodigious sluggers. In terms of career bWAR of any player wearing a Twins uniform, only Carew, Killebrew, Mauer, Puckett, & Blyleven eclipse him.
Minnesota Twins Chuck Knoblauch... Set Number: X51099

Chuck Knoblauch

  • One could make an argument that no Twin had a better initial foray into MLB—all things considered—than Chuck Knoblauch. As a rookie in 1991, the 2B-man played 151 games to the tune of 636 PA, .281 BA, 25 SB, AL Rookie of the Year Award winner & a World Series ring. For the next 7 seasons, Knobby would average .306 BA, 115 OPS+, & 40 SB. His monster 1996 season—.341 BA, 143 OPS+, 14 3B, 45 SB—represented his zenith in a Twins uniform.
Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images

Jim Perry

  • From 1963-1972, Jim Perry was the ultimate swingman pitcher in an era where bullpen specialization was nonexistent. He had a few seasons strictly starting, a few primarily in relief, but mostly he was an equal-opportunity everyman. Perry’s average line from those years: 14-10, 204 IP, 3.16 ERA, 113 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP. There were also flashes of brilliance, as evidenced by his 1970 Cy Young Award and 3rd-place finish in 1969. Fellow moundsman Bert Blyleven continuously gave Perry the lion’s share of the credit for mentoring his teenaged Dutchman self and shaping his eventual Hall of Fame career.
Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Joe Nathan

  • It’s difficult to gauge the exact value of relievers, as they contribute comparatively little versus starting pitchers or everyday players. But with respect to Rick Aguilera, Joe Nathan was the best fireman the Twins ever unleashed in the late innings. From 2004-2011, an average Nathanator campaign looked like this: 68 IP, 2.16 ERA, 38 saves, 0.96 WHIP, 204 ERA+. When it came to dominant closers of that era, there was Mariano Rivera at the top of the heap—and then Nathan a surprisingly close second.
World Series - St. Louis Cardinals v Minnesota Twins - Game Seven Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images

Frank Viola

  • Drafted by MN in 1981, Frank Viola had a rocky start—a combined 11-25 record and 5.00+ ERA in ’82/’83. But the organization hung with him and by the mid-80s he gelled. Peaking in 1987 (17-10, 251.2 IP, 2.90 ERA, 159 ERA+), Sweet Music was victorious in Games 1 & 7 of the World Series—tossing 8 solid frames in both contests. Frankie was arguably even better in 1988, taking home the AL Cy Young Award with his 24-7, 261 IP, 2.64 ERA, 154 ERA+ line. Even in being traded to the New York Mets mid-’89, his value recouped the likes of Rick Aguilera & Kevin Tapani—key pieces to the next MN championship push.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 12

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Brad Radke
    (45 votes)
  • 3%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (10 votes)
  • 13%
    Jim Perry
    (34 votes)
  • 29%
    Joe Nathan
    (75 votes)
  • 36%
    Frank Viola
    (93 votes)
257 votes total Vote Now